We Are the Tide
Blind Pilot is somewhat of an anomaly among its contemporaries in that the Portland sextet doesn't look to the past for inspiration. We Are the Tide is a refreshingly modern-sounding album starting with “Half Moon,” a strolling serenade that plays like a three-and-a-half-minute baroque-pop symphony laced with the rich tones of vintage wooden instruments. But even with an organic arsenal of trumpets, vibraphones, dulcimer, keyboards, violin, ukulele, harmonium, pump organ, pedal steel, and banjos, Blind Pilot exercises restraint in the moments when it’d be tempting to unleash sonic drama. Take “Keep You Right,” where pedaling rhythms leave plenty of wide-open space for instrumental indulgence. Instead, every member lets the song go where it wants. A snappy shuffle propels the title track’s rhythm, while watery pedal steel and a Hammond organ bend and grind notes into a rootsy alchemy that never upstages Nebeker’s unpredictably pretty melodies. Some East Coast adoration permeates “New York”: a Big Apple serenade of more than five minutes.